Law Intellectual Property

Introduction to Designs Act of 2000 and the Design Rules, 2001

The Designs Act of 2000 and the Design Rules, 2001 regulate the registration and protection of designs in India. The Design Rules, 2001 was further amended by Designs (Amendment) Rules 2008 and Designs (Amendment) Rules 2014 to introduce a new category of an applicant incorporated under the identity of a small entity and a natural person. The object of the Designs Act is to protect original and new designs applicable to a particular article.

What is Design?

To understand the process of registration and protection of designs in India, it is necessary to know what the term ‘design’ implies. In simple words, a design constitutes the ornamental and aesthetic aspect of an article consisting of 3-D or 2-D features such as the shape of an article, patterns, lines, or colour.

Also, according to the definition of design given under Section 2(d) of the Designs Act 2001, a design is ‘only the features of a shape, pattern, configuration, composition or ornament of lines or colours that are applied to any article that is two dimensional, three dimensional, or both by an industrial process or any means whether mechanical, manual or chemical, separated or combined, which in the finished article are judged solely by the eye; but is not taken into account upon the principle of construction or anything which is in substance a mere mechanical device’.

Where Is The Application For Design Registration Submitted?

The design of a particular product influences the consumer to purchase it, while a less attractive product might go unnoticed. This is where design registration comes into play. If a design is registered, the artisan, creator, or originator of an appealing design is not deprived of his true reward as others cannot apply the same design to their goods.

The application to register a design can be submitted to five different authorities, namely-

1. The Patent Office in Kolkata

2. The patent office in Delhi

3. The patent office in Ahmedabad

4. The patent office in Mumbai

4. The patent office in Chennai

It must be noted that when an application is submitted at any one of the four offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Ahmedabad, it is rerouted to the head office in Kolkata.

 Essential requirements for registration of design

Now, before we look at the design registration process, it is vital to know the essential elements that are a prerequisite to designing registration. According to the Design Act of 2000, for a design to be registered and protected, the following essential elements must be fulfilled:

a. Novel and original design

The design should not have been used or published previously in any country before the date of application of registration. In simple words, it should be new and original.

b. Features of the design

The features of a product that are represented by shapes, patterns, configuration, or composition form the crux of the design.

c. No artistic works, trademarks, or property marks

A design should not include artistic works, trademarks, or property marks.

There should be a significant number of differences between the design and other designs that have already been registered.

d. Applicability

For a design to be eligible for registration under the Designs Act, 2000, it must be applied to any article by any industrial process.

e. Appealing to the eyes

The finished article’s design must be appreciated with the eyes alone. In simple words, the features of the design must appear on the article for the design to be registerable under the Designs Act of 2000.

f. Unobjectionable

To be capable of being registered under the Designs Act of 2000, the design must not be prohibited by the Government of India or any other authorized institution. If a design causes any kind of unrest or hurts the sentiments of the people, it may not be allowed to get registered by the Controller.


Process of Design Registration in India

After ensuring that all the requirements for the registration process of design are fulfilled, one can follow this step-by-step guide to get a certificate of registration of design:

An application, along with Form-1 and the applicable fee, must be submitted. The following details should be mentioned in the application-

  1. 1. Name of applicant
  2. Address of the applicant
  3. Nationality of the applicant.
  4. (If the applicant is a company or business entity, information regarding the place of incorporation and its legal status must be mentioned)
  5. The class and sub-class of the article’s design as per the Locarno Classification
  6. The name of the article to which the design is applied
  7. Unique features of the design that sets it apart from any other existing designs along with two copies of the design in the case of 2-D design and two copies of the design from the viewpoint of the front, back, top, bottom, and the two sides in the case of 3-D design
  8. Each class of registration must have a separate application if the application is to register the design in more than one class
  9. An endorsed and duly signed Statement of Disclaimer or novelty must be attached to each representation concerning mechanical processes, trademark, numbers, letters, etc.
  10. Once the application is submitted, the patent office will examine the application and raise objections wherever necessary.
  11. After clearing or removing all the objections, the application is accepted and registered.
  12.  The design shall be granted a copyright certificate by the Patent Office, and a certificate of registration is issued to the applicant.

Once the certificate of registration is received, the design number, class number, date of filing in India, name, and address of the Proprietor, and such other information that would affect the validity of proprietorship of the design are all noted in the Register of Designs, a document maintained by The Patent Office, Kolkata.

Validity of Design Registration Certificate 

The design registration validity is ten years from the date of registration and may be extended by 5 years.  An application made in Form-3 along with the prescribed fees must be submitted to the Controller before the expiry of the initial period of ten years to get an extension. This application for an extension can also be made by the proprietor of a design as soon as the design is registered.

However, it must be noted that the registration of a design can be cancelled at any time, even after receiving the certificate of registration of the design. Upon receiving a petition for cancellation, the Controller of Designs can cancel the registration of a design if:

  1. The design is already registered or published in India or elsewhere before the date of registration
  2. The design is not new or original
  3. It is not a design under Section 2 (d) of the Designs Act, 2001

Lastly, one must remember that a suit for infringement is filed in the District Court if anyone contravenes the copyright in a design. The offender is liable to pay a sum not exceeding Rs. 25,000/- to the registered proprietor.

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